There aren't many good free agents on many waiver wires, so though I'll give you some waiver guys, this week's column is about something else.
Buy low, sell high. It's how you should play the stock market, and it's also a smart way to play fantasy football. Trades can play a huge part in fantasy; they can be the step that pushes you into the playoffs or to the championship, or they can sink your team if they backfire. This week's main segment is going to be a few players to buy low and sell high, as well as some that are for real (buy high) or are not worth keeping (sell low).Buy low
Matthew Stafford, QB, DET - He put up huge numbers Sunday, albeit against a suspect pass defense. Still, he was rusty from missing several weeks, and was still able to put up a big fantasy score. Stafford could be in for a big second half and is worth having if your QB situation isn't locked down. His trade value is probably a high QB2, but he's really a mid-to-low QB1.
Ray Rice, RB, BAL - Rice is still easily the Ravens' most talented back, and you have to think he'll get it going at some point this year. I can't see Rice ending the season with only 11 fantasy points per game. He's a great guy to target; I see him as a low RB1 or high RB2, but if his owner is frustrated with his lack of production he's worth trying to steal.
Beanie Wells, RB, ARZ - I don't think Wells will have trouble finding running room all season; the Cardinals' passing game was solid this week, and though Wells didn't pick up many yards he should have some solid games from now until the end of the season.
Jamaal Charles, RB, KC - I'm sure whoever has Charles values him as a good RB2...that's fine, but he's a RB1, plain and simple. Charles is electric, and though he splits carries he's still good for loads of yardage and possible TDs. I'd rather have Charles on my roster than guys like Michael Turner, Steven Jackson, and LeSean McCoy. If you have one of those guys and can flip him for Charles plus a guy, do it!
Randy Moss, WR, FREE AGENT - If your league's Moss owner is willing to get rid of him for a song, it's worth your while. Moss right now is like a lottery...if he lands in Cleveland or Kansas City, I wouldn't trust him. If he lands in St. Louis or San Diego, he'd have huge value immediately. See if the Moss owner in your league is pissed about his plight and will give him up for one of your less flashy backups that's actually on a roster.
Greg Jennings, WR, GB - I can't see Jennings not turning it on. Aaron Rodgers didn't have much time to throw Sunday, but a lot of balls went Jennings' way that were just slightly off-target due to the pressure on Rodgers. Jennings is the only good, healthy receiver left in Green Bay's receiving corps, and Rodgers is still an elite talent. Jennings is a high WR2 with WR3 stats; see if his owner is frustrated.
Zach Miller, TE, OAK - Miller's owner may be upset about Miller's slight injury and awful game this week, but he's still easily a top five TE. If he's cheap, he's worth getting, especially if you're rotating TE like Kellen Winslow and Brent Celek.
Kyle Orton, QB, DEN - You're playing with fire if you keep riding Kyle Orton. Orton's season numbers looks great, but he's yet to throw more than 2 TD passes in one game, and his fantasy stats in the next three are averaging closer to 15 than the 20s he was putting up earlier this year. If you can find someone willing to treat Orton as a middle-tier QB1, I'd see if I could unload him. I see Stafford and Orton as having relatively similar value the rest of the way, so Stafford would make a good target. Someone like Michael Vick or Joe Flacco would also be a good acquisition in an Orton deal if the other owner values Orton higher.
Ryan Torain, RB, WAS - I hope you already sold this guy high. I HATE Torain for fantasy; I think he's going to combust in a bucket of flames and burn into ashes. Mike Shanahan is brutal as a fantasy RB coach; he keeps changing his mind on who's the guy, and will even pull guys that are doing fairly well. Torain's skills are low, and he's been fortunate thus far. If you can get RB2 value for him sell immediately!
Darren McFadden, RB, OAK - McFadden's stats have been unreal so far; he's leading the NFL in rushing yards per game and yards from scrimmage per game for a RB. However, McFadden has had injury issues in the past (including this year), and Michael Bush could still steal a few carries here and there. Plus I wouldn't expect the Raiders to put up 92 points in two games at any point from here to the end of the season; Denver's D is awful and Seattle on the road isn't much better. If you can get mid-to-high RB1 value for McFadden, I'd sell him for sure. McFadden for Jamaal Charles and an upgrade at QB, WR, or TE would be a great trade for a McFadden owner.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, NYJ - Tomlinson has looked pretty much like the LaDainian Tomlinson we all remember from two years ago. However, the Jets are going to start integrating Shonn Greene into the offense more, and with the Jets' passing game not really clicking the RBs won't have quite as much room to run. I love Tomlinson as a RB2, but if you can find someone willing to value him as a RB1 I'd pull the trigger and upgrade your roster. If I were moving Tomlinson I'd see if I could get a guy like Ray Rice or Peyton Hillis plus an upgrade somewhere else.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC - If someone in your league believes Dwayne Bowe is legitimately a top-15 receiver, sell him immediately. Bowe's stats look juicy, but his five TD in his last three games have been against Houston, Jacksonville, and Buffalo. Though KC's schedule isn't real dangerous the rest of the way, Kansas City's run game is so good that Bowe is absolutely no guarantee to get many balls. I see him as a WR3 at best. I'd easily deal Bowe straight up for Zach Miller if you need a TE and Miller's owner likes Bowe.
Terrell Owens, WR, CIN - It's not that I don't like Owens as a player; it's because 1) I can't see Chad Ochocinco taking a back seat all season, especially with the Bengals not playing well, and 2) because the Bengals' passing game schedule is brutal the rest of the way. They have Pittsburgh twice, the Jets, Baltimore, and San Diego left on their schedule along with likely tougher-than-they-look games at Cleveland in December and at home against New Orleans. I like Owens as a mid-WR2, but if someone thinks he's a WR1 you should definitely sell high.
Marcedes Lewis, TE, JAX - I love Marcedes as a football player, but I don't trust our offense enough to assume he'll keep scoring TD at the same pace he has so far, and if the TD fall off Lewis becomes next to useless for fantasy, as he's definitely not a big yardage TE. I wouldn't want him as my starting TE in a ten-team league, but if someone else does then shoot them an offer. I'd probably rather have Jacob Tamme, though I HATE saying that as a Jaguars fan.
Steelers D/ST - The Steelers have performed like a WR so far this year; however, their last two games are less than stellar and losing Aaron Smith definitely hurts. If someone views the Steelers D as by far the best D and is willing to give up something of substance for them, make an offer; there are always solid matchup Ds to play.
Now, there are some guys that are legitimately for real, and some that are legitimately pretenders. Not as much commentary, but here are some lists:
For real (buy high if you want them; don't sell high unless you're getting a great deal)
QB: Philip Rivers, SD
RB: Arian Foster, HOU; Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG
WR: Hakeem Nicks, NYG; Calvin Johnson, DET; Brandon Lloyd, DEN
TE: Antonio Gates, SD (there are no TE left! If you have Gates, don't trade him!)
Pretenders (don't buy low unless the price is "cheap as free"; if you have these guys and someone will trade anything near the value you drafted them at for them, sell immediately)
QB: Donovan McNabb, WAS; Jay Cutler, CHI; Brett Favre, MIN
RB: Cedric Benson, CIN; Ryan Mathews, SD; Ronnie Brown, MIA; Pierre Thomas, NO; Marion Barber, DAL
WR: Wes Welker, NE; Donald Driver, GB; Roy Williams, DAL; Malcom Floyd, SD (I liked Floyd, but his injury will keep him out a while and Vincent Jackson will likely return before Floyd is healthy. His value is pretty low)
TE: Aaron Hernandez, NE (NE pass game looks awfully similar to the "spread it out" days. No soup for you, Hernandez); Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN; Greg Olsen, CHI; Kellen Winslow, TB
And here is my attempt at waiver wire pickups for this week...there is almost nothing on the wire right now.
QB: Jon Kitna, DAL; David Garrard, JAX
RB: Darren Sproles, SD; Chester Taylor, CHI; Keiland Williams, WAS
WR: Steve Breaston, WR, ARZ; Sidney Rice, MIN; Mike Thomas, JAX; Nate Washington, TEN
TE: Jacob Tamme, IND; Todd Heap, BAL
If you have specific questions about waiver add/drops, trades for your team, or your weekly lineup, PLEASE send them to me! I'll respond to comments on this post, but the best way to reach me is via Twitter (see my signature). Thanks for reading; hopefully you guys are enjoying these because they do take me a little while to write.